What’s the story?
The IPL injury list is growing at an alarming rate, with new additions every day. For the Royal Challengers Bangalore, it has been a double whammy in the form of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, both of whom are suffering from shoulder injuries. While Kohli is set to miss at least the initial few games, Rahul will miss the entire season.
RCB coach Daniel Vettori opened up about Rahul’s possible replacements, especially behind the wicket. He made it clear that the 26-year old won’t take any part in this year’s tournament.
"Owing to a shoulder injury, KL Rahul will be travelling for his treatment and thus will be unavailable to play as a part of the RCB squad this IPL”.
In case you didn’t know…
KL Rahul suffered the shoulder injury during the first Test at Pune, deeming him unfit to be part of the IPL, although he played through pain for the rest of the matches.
He was the third highest run-getter for RCB last season, behind only Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. He was also the first choice wicketkeeper for the franchise.
The heart of the matter
With Rahul sidelined, the Royal Challengers Bangalore have opted not to look for a wicketkeeping replacement, instead, using the keeping options in the existing squad.
Daniel Vettori said that both Kedar Jadhav and AB de Villiers are accomplished keepers who will be able to do the job, and the franchise will turn to one of the two to do the same.
The versatile AB de Villiers has given up wicketkeeping at the international level, although he fills in time and again, in the event of an emergency or lack of choices. He kept sporadically in 2013-14 against Australia, and in 2015 when both Quinton de Kock and Dane Vilas were dropped from the Test team.
However, back problems have forced him to give up the role on a full-time basis.
The Bangalore team have never had a stable wicketkeeping option, shuffling between the likes of de Villiers, Arun Karthik, Parthiv Patel, and later Kedar Jadhav and KL Rahul.
The new keeping option will have to hone his skills quick, for the season starts in less than a week. The Bangalore team plays its first match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, winners of the last season, at Hyderabad on April 5.
It bodes well for the Bangalore team that they have the services of De Villiers and Kedar Jadhav, both of whom have experience of keeping in the IPL previously. Also, handing either of the two the gloves gives the team the option of sneaking in an extra batsman who could come in handy, especially with the gaping hole being created by the absence of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul. Also, given the fact that the role of a keeper is fairly limited in T20s, both De Villiers and Jadhav won't have too much on their plate.